I hate suffering. Especially when it’s near me, and most definitely when it is me. Unfortunately, many of us are called to do it. I used to think that the only good suffering was the kind where I was suffering for being a Christian. Persecutions and such. Now I think there’s more to it than that. There may be times when I suffer for Christ’s sake and don’t even know it.
Take the case of the man born blind in John chapter 9. People asked Jesus why the man was blind. Jesus said, “… so the works of God might be displayed in him.” That’s pretty tough to swallow. This guy was born blind and lived to adulthood without sight so that God could be glorified. I don’t know for sure, but I’m guessing this guy didn’t feel like he was suffering for God’s glory. I’m betting there were lots of days, especially as an older child, when he was wondering why he could only sit and listen to the sounds of the other kids running and playing. But even then, he was sitting there blind, for God’s glory.
The day was coming. A pivitol moment in history when this blind child had grown to be an adult. Jesus would use this man to display his power and authority to the Pharisees. The point where the line was drawn in the sand and people had to choose which side they were on. By healing him, Jesus drew the line. This man’s lifetime of suffering was the sand.
The point to me is this: Sometimes I suffer for God’s glory and maybe I don’t even know it. It doesn’t feel good at the time. Nobody likes to suffer. But whether I know it or not, whether I like it or not, it happens for God’s glory, and believe it or not, that is a priviledge. Sometimes, I am called to be the sand.
For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, experiencing the same conflict which you saw in me, and now hear to be in me.
So a second time they called the man who had been blind, and said to him, “Give glory to God; we know that this man is a sinner.” He then answered, “Whether He is a sinner, I do not know; one thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.”